LinkedIn ads: Are they worth it?


Date: 11 June 2020

Businesswoman draws a global networking structure on dark background

Since the launch of LinkedIn in 2003, the platform has been recognised for it's USP of providing access to a professional network.

Unlike any other social media platform, LinkedIn invites industry professionals from around the world to connect, collaborate and learn in a safe environment.

When it comes to LinkedIn advertising, some rave about it, and others absolutely hate it.     

Hopefully, after reading this article, it'll become clear whether you should be advertising on the platform, using pay-per-click ads or whether you should consider using the professional platform for organic awareness.

Who uses LinkedIn?

Surprisingly, LinkedIn caters to a wide variety of people, not just us boring adults!

As you'd expect, being a career/professionals based platform, it attracts a large number of people that already have an established career.

However, LinkedIn is also home to 46 million students and recent college/university graduates. If it's a job straight out of college you're looking for, there couldn't be a better place to look for one.

Here are some more key LinkedIn Demographics you should know:

  • Over 70% of users are from outside the US
  • 57% of users are male and 43% are female
  • 24% of Millenials (18-24 years old) use Linkedin
  • The average LinkedIn user earns $46,644 per year

Before you invest time understanding the capabilities of LinkedIn, if your audience demographics don't match that of the platform, don't go any further.

However, as I've mentioned, LinkedIn has a diverse demographic, so your target audience are probably already users

LinkedIn ad formats

When selecting your campaign objective, LinkedIn takes a similar approach to Facebook, breaking them down into Awareness (brand awareness), Consideration (web visits, engagement, video views), and Conversions (lead generation, web conversions, job applicants).

(Source: LinkedIn)

After selecting your campaign objective, it's time to decide which ad format you are going to use:

1) Sponsored content

Sponsored ads are 'boosted' posts from company page feeds. They follow the typical structure of an ordinary post, allowing you to edit the headline and media, but also adding a sponsored link for users to follow.

2) Text ads

Working on a pay-per-click (PPC) or impression basis, LinkedIn Text ads are featured in the sidebar of users' screens. They are complimented with a company logo and no other imagery.

3) Sponsored InMail

Sponsored Inmail ads are self-explanatory. They allow you to send a pre-written message to multiple targeted users at once. This type of ad generates quality leads and is often used to find job applicants.

4) Programmatic display ads

Like most websites, LinkedIn allows display ads to run on the side of their site. Various companies will bid for this ad space, and it goes to the highest bidder.  In terms of creative ability, LinkedIn Display ads are fairly standard.

5) Dynamic ads

Possibly one of the most popular ad formats, dynamic ads can be really personalised. Ever seen your profile photo next to a company logo and promoted to view their page? That's an example of a Dynamic ad.

You can choose whether to drive traffic to your website, push job listings, resource downloads, and many more.

Targeting options

If you're an avid LinkedIn user, I'm sure that you've noticed some of your connections bragging about their achievements. As annoying as this may be, it means LinkedIn can collect really specific data that will help you target relevant people.

Therefore, LinkedIn is well known for its targeting capabilities. In fact, it has an extensive list of demographic categories for you to target:

  1. Location
  2. Language
  3. Job Title
  4. Job Function
  5. Seniority
  6. Years of Experience
  7. Company Name
  8. Company Industry
  9. Company Size
  10. Groups
  11. Skills
  12. Interests
  13. School
  14. Age
  15. Gender

Aside from this mega list of targeting data, you can target specific accounts, your contact list and retarget people who have visited your website in the past.

Account targeting allows you to target a pool of specific individuals, which are hopefully more relevant to your campaign and will generate you more sales, leads, or whatever you are trying to achieve.

Contact targeting lets you customize your ad targeting based on an existing contacts list, whether that is an existing email list or any other form of customer data.

By downloading and installing the LinkedIn Insights Tag, LinkedIn will be able to recognise whether users who have visited your site also have an account on the platform.

This form of targeting is effective and can generate a 10X higher click through rate (CTR).

Are LinkedIn ads expensive?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. But the question is, is it justified?

Well I think it is. The targeting capabilities that LinkedIn provides allows you to target specific users that are likely to generate results making it money well spent.

Like most platforms, the cost is determined on a bid and budget basis, which means that your overall spend can vary depending on your campaign goals.

Because your expense can be controlled by a budget, some benchmarks have been set:

  1. $10 daily budget per campaign
  2. $10 total budget per campaign (an optional feature for Sponsored Content)
  3. $2 bid for CPC or CPM on Text Ad campaigns

Should you advertise on LinkedIn?

I can't give you a clear yes or no answer - I don't know anything about your business or your goals - but I can tell you about employee advocacy.

This is where employees promote the organisation they work for (usually claiming a reward in the process). In terms of product promotion, LinkedIn is driven by employee advocacy and advertising can't match their results.

Think about it, if you try and promote your product with some convincing marketing in an environment of industry professionals and potential business owners, they're probably not going to fall for it.

However, job promotion and brand awareness is another thing.

Although employees could use their network to rave about a job opening, their reach could never be as huge or as targeted as an ad would be.

The targeting capabilities of LinkedIn advertising are amazing, and when searching for job applicants, there's no better way to generate quality candidates.

Before you go…

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are my business objectives?
  2. Is my audience on LinkedIn?
  3. Can LinkedIn ads help achieve my business objectives?

Don't advertise on LinkedIn because the platform has generated results for someone else, it doesn't mean they'll work for you.

LinkedIn doesn't work for everyone so do your research and make sure that advertising on the platform is right for your business.

Copyright 2020. Featured post made possible by Tom Welbourne of The Good Marketer, a marketing agency in London which drives more traffic, generates conversions and increases sales for small- to medium-sized businesses

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